Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mr. Midshipman Easy - by Frederick Marryat

Free US/UK Kindle Classic
You can’t get Horatio Hornblower for free on Amazon, but you may enjoy Mr. Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat (US Edition)  (UK Edition) who joined the British Royal Navy himself in 1806. He wrote a number of novels of which this is one. It is said to be semi-autobiographical, but I think exaggeration rules the day and the book is a delight!

One Amazon review says:

Captain Marryat's books have been difficult to find until now, and I'm overjoyed to find so many on kindle. I thought this book was great, very funny and understated, even if it's a couple hundred years old it seems perfectly relevant today.
Here is a sample:

"As Mr Sawbridge, the first lieutenant, happened to be going on shore on the same evening for the last time previous to the ship's sailing, he looked into the Blue Posts, George, and Fountain Inns, to inquire if there was such a person arrived as Mr Easy. 

"O yes," replied the waiter at the Fountain,—"Mr Easy has been here these three weeks." 

"The devil he has," roared Mr Sawbridge, with all the indignation of a first lieutenant defrauded three weeks of a midshipman; "where is he; in the coffee-room?"

"Oh dear no, sir," replied the waiter, "Mr Easy has the front apartments on the first floor."

"Well, then, show me up to the first floor."

"May I request the pleasure of your name, sir?" said the waiter.

"First lieutenants don't send up their names to midshipmen," replied Mr Sawbridge; "he shall soon know who I am."

At this reply, the waiter walked upstairs, followed by Mr Sawbridge, and threw open the door.

"A gentleman wishes to see you, sir," said the waiter.

"Desire him to walk in," said Jack: "and, waiter, mind that the punch is a little better than it was yesterday; I have asked two more gentlemen to dine here."

In the meantime, Mr Sawbridge, who was not in his uniform, had entered, and perceived Jack alone, with the dinner table laid out in the best style for eight, a considerable show of plate for even the Fountain Inn, and everything, as well as the apartment itself, according to Mr Sawbridge's opinion, much more fit for a commander-in-chief than a midshipman of a sloop of war."

Shiver me timbers!

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